Wrestling games come in all shapes and sizes. One of the more popular entertainment forms, you’d be amazed at the sheer number of wrestling video games over the years. So it’s no surprise that over the years, there have been a number of terrible wrestling titles thrown out to an eager public. From WWE to The Simpsons, we decided to name and shame those wrestling titles that should have known better.
2K15 was an awkward junction for the modern WWE series of games, coming to embody everything wrong with modern wrestling games. Fans were excited to see the WWE Universe enter the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One era – but they didn’t see this mess coming.
The game came packing a laughable amount of content for the price, combined with the kind of over complicated mechanics that made the game hard to enjoy for casual players. No one in their right mind would ask for this kind of game when pressed, yet WWE2K15 insists on being a “realistic” recreation.
The game looks pretty for sure, but that only masks the utter mess of parts that this was. Clearly rushed in certain areas, it’s a shame that this was the first next-gen offering on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles.
9. WWF Betrayal
Someone in the developers office was having a good giggle when it came to this game. Betrayal ejects every aspect of the WWE product, instead focusing on a Streets of Rage approach that turns the entire thing into a 2D beat-em-up. It’s not the easiest of the translations at the best of time (See Rockpocalypse further down this list) but with the puny power of the Game Boy Color to work with, it all spectacularly falls apart.
The decision to focus more on the story element of wrestling and squeeze the roster down to just four Superstars should have been a sign things weren’t going to work out. Instead of wrestling, you have to control one of the WWF’s top Superstars and save Stephanie McMahon from a kidnapping plot.
If the repetitive gameplay doesn’t kill your interest, the laughably poor fighting mechanics will. The games also awkwardly short – so don’t worry about being stuck with it for too long.
8. WWF Royal Rumble
Royal Rumble could have been brilliant. Developed by Yukes, the same guys who were making the hugely popular Smackdown games, Royal Rumble had the power of Dreamcast behind it and an eager fan base that wanted to see what next-gen WWE games could be. Oh how they probably wish they could forget this car crash.
Royal Rumble features all of two match types – single player and the Royal Rumble match. Perhaps most shocking of all, there aren’t enough WWF Superstars in the game to fill the titular stipulation. This means playing through the Royal Rumble will inevitably lead to duplicates entering the match and breaking all immersion. All of this for full price at the advent of Sega’s doomed machine.
Oh and the game plays like its running through custard. Avoid like the plague.
7. WCW Backstage Assault
By late 2000 WCW was cratering in product quality and popularity. The ship was sinking fast and nowhere did this show than in the painful WCW Backstage Assault.
Published by EA (Yes, that EA) this was a shameless cash-in on the few big names WCW still had on their books. The game is lazily slopped together, taking place entirely in the backstage areas of arenas. This exposes the clunky controls and woefully dire designs of everything – as the game feels lazily slapped together. There’s no long-term appeal and while the game features the big names like Goldberg and Sting, they play so terribly that you’ll wish to forget about them.
6. WWF Steel Cage Challenge
Steel Cage Challenge was an interesting beast. Trying to cash-in on the popularity of steel cage matches, the game could very easily have been a hit for company.
Featuring just six of the company’s stars, Steel Cage Challenge collapses under the weight of awful design, terrible graphics and thanks to all the wrestlers sharing the same move pool – an incredibly lacking sense of personality to proceedings. You’d need more than a cage to keep me in with this game.
5. WCW Thunder
Attempting to harp on WWF’s hugely popular Smackdown sereis, WCW Thunder attempted to create a more cinematic experience by giving all of its wrestlers pre-match entrances. A novel idea for sure, if not almost entirely ruined by the actual gameplay that follows it.
It’s safe to say that the engine running this was laughably poor, slogging along like an old dog waiting to be put out of its misery. Everything in this game is awkwardly stiff and lacks the excitement of the Smackdown series. Worse still, the whole thing looks like an early PlayStation 1 game. Sporting the kind of pointy edges and lack of polish that would have most gamers screaming in horror.
4. Celebrity Deathmatch
With wrestlings popularity proving too much for late-90’s culture to ignore, so to came the endless cash-ins on anything remotely related to professional wrestling. Celebrity Deathmatch was one of the biggest successes in this area – sadly its video game offshoot was not.
The game plays like a hastily assembled college project. The graphics are terribly bland, while the controls are too precise to make combos a realistic challenge. Controls don’t work half the time, while multiplayer descends into an awkward game of cat and mouse.
Avoid like modern day MTV.
3. WWE Aftershock
The Nokia N-Gage was an ambitious console that ultimately fell short. It was neither a great phone nor a competent gaming device, and with titles like WWF Aftershock in its roster of games – it’s easy to see why.
Aftershock tries to emulate its console cousins, with all the success of a Jack Swagger Championship run. Characters are near impossible to make out on the consoles tiny screen, while controls are thrown over to the devices awful D-Pad – making controls near impossible. Worse still, the multiplayer function was dead on arrival, causing insane load times and was effectively unplayable. Can’t fault the ambition, but we can laugh at the absolute shocker THQ Wireless forced out here.
Blame this one on WWE’s ever-increasing attempt to pander to The Rock’s ever rising Hollywood star. They can’t keep him all to themselves, but they can certainly license him into oh so crappy spin-offs.
Taking cues from WWF Betrayal, the game sees you fight through various bland locals – beating up workers using touch gestures as prompted. If this sounds tedious that’s because it is. Rockpocalypse is a car crash of poor ideas being crushed together with minimal effort. Everything looks cheap, feels cheap and sounds cheap, with Dwayne Johnson helpfully barking quotes and motto’s at you like an army sergeant. You can still bag this game on Android an iOS for free. Totally recommend it if you fancy frustrating yourself into an anger driven rage.
1. Simpsons Wrestling
Simpsons Wrestling is what happens when someone fails to say no at the right time. If you’re a fan of The Simpsons or wrestling – this abomination is almost certainly not the game for you.
The simplistic mechanics are the least of the games worries, though they deserve special praise for their dedication to tank controls. Of the 20 characters you can play as, not one of them makes you feel connected to the game in a way that would entertain or make you. Visually the title looks like a poor fan recreation with assets ripped off the internet – with no attention to detail or attempt to make the graphics work in motion. You may think the game looks bad in screenshots, it only gets worse when motion is added,
If you’ve never played Simpsons Wrestling, you need to experience it. Purely for the shocking value of how poor it is.